• 1st place on prologue for Al-Attiyah/Baumel
  • 7th place for Lategan/Cummings
JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA – The short, sharp prologue for the 2021 Dakar Rally saw TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel post the fastest time in their South African-built Toyota Hilux. Their time was matched by Brian Baragwanath and Taye Perry, in a Century CR-6, which is also built in South Africa.

Dakar debutant Henk Lategan and co-driver Brett Cummings, racing in their first Dakar together, posted a time just 15 seconds slower than that of the leaders, placing them in 7th place for the start of Stage 1, which takes place from Jeddah to Bisha on Sunday, January 2nd.

“We are very pleased with Nasser and Mathieu setting the fastest time. They’ve proven before that they are happy to attack from the front,” TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Team Principal, Glyn Hall, said after the 11 km prologue. “Henk and Brett did exactly what we had hoped they’d do – a solid performance that places them in a good position for Stage 1.”

Giniel de Villiers and Alex Haro suffered a throttle response problem at the start of the stage and lost some time resetting the system. They managed to restrict their time loss to 20 seconds despite the problem but will be starting Stage 1 in 19th place – which means the man from Stellenbosch will have to deal with more dust and scattered tracks than he would have liked.

The final car in the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing fourball is that of Shameer Variawa and Dennis Murphy. The pair’s prologue time was 33 seconds off the pace set at the head of the field, as they found their feet in their first Dakar together. They’ll be starting as the 26th car on the road.

Stage 1 is a 622 km section that comprises a liaison of 345 km, and a timed section of 277 km. The route will see the crews tackle sandy tracks, strewn with rocks in places. Protecting the tyres will be key in these conditions.